Solar Article – Energy Tech Review Magazine - Input There has never been a more exciting time to be working in the energy sector than the here and now. We are in a global climate pandemic and we have to find and fund the businesses that are going to transition us away from fossil fuels. That means technology that is clean, viable, scalable, and economic. There is much to do and little time to ultimately make a difference.
"Corporate doors that were once closed are now very much open as they are under governance and shareholder pressures to also reinvent themselves or pivot and be part of the environmental revolution."
Scale matters because the size of the problem is big and economics will always be a key factor. Fifty years ago, solar PV was £75 GBP per watt, now it is as low as 15 pence. That’s what technology improvement, competition and demand can do. Solar PV has been widely adopted and the market has grown to be worth $10’s bn. Nevertheless, challenges remain to be overcome:
Cost – initial purchase cost is relatively high
Space – a lot is required
Conversion efficiency - relatively low from solar energy to electricity
Energy generation - intermittent
Entrepreneurs always rise to such challenges and investors, strategics and support services need to be aware of emerging global solutions whatever the country of origin. Greenbackers advisory is making this community aware of innovative technology most ready for adoption. In the last few years, we have worked with three distinctive companies, each with a unique way of reinventing solar energy.
The world class team at Lambda Energy see inefficiency as an opportunity and have taken on the challenge to develop a coating that can be applied or retrofitted to solar panels to increase both their power output and lifetime. Their advanced materials based on quantum dot technology absorb part of the light spectrum that is normally lost and usefully convert it to electricity.
Power Roll are addressing the limitations of cost and space. They have reinvented solar to generate energy anywhere and everywhere, using any surface. Their flexible solar film is capable of producing
ultra-low-cost electricity, much cheaper than even existing flexible PV solutions. This massively expands the use of solar energy for existing applications and opens up many new possibilities where conventional technology has been restricted by its cost, weight or supply chain.
Naked Energy is marketing a solution to make more use of allocated space. Their high energy density product (VirtuPVT) provides combined solar heat and power when installed on rooftop, building façade, or ground mounted. This innovation enables greater financial and carbon savings for higher returns on both capitals invested and the space utilised.
With solar and indeed wind now in the mainstream of the energy mix, is the end in sight for fossil fuel sources? Apart from the time to successfully transition, there is the issue of renewables being intermittent. On their own, they are not the full answer. Reliable storage infrastructure such as utility scale batteries and pumped storage hydro will be needed to cover intermittency and maintain grid stability.
Corporate doors that were once closed are now very much open as they are under governance and shareholder pressures to also reinvent themselves or pivot and be part of the environmental revolution that can compare with the industrial revolution of the past. Those with foresight and transferrable skills such as engineering, logistics and operations are already on the transition journey and engaged in major renewables projects ready to adopt the latest technology that can provide a clear cost, efficiency or space saving advantage.